ADERA method: deal with your distributors' objections

How to respond to objections - The ADERA method

Arthur d'Achon
March 1, 2022 - 4 min reading
Updated December 7, 2023

As a sales professional, you are confronted with daily objections from your prospects and customers.

  • "Your product is too expensive."
  • "I already buy from the competition."
  • "I'd think about it."

A feeling of déjà vu, no? But don't worry, there's no reason to be demoralised. On the contrary!

‍Anobjection is first and foremost a show of interest.

What do you mean, I'm unblocking? You're not!

A prospect who isn't interested won't waste time raising objections, but will simply ignore you. Objections are the key stage in making a sale, and you need to accept and respond to them.

Here's a simple method to help you win every time: the ADERA method.

Understanding the ADERA Method

The ADERA method is a powerful tool in the arsenal of any salesperson, especially in the retail sector.

ADERA, which stands for Acceptance, Discovery, Empathy, Response and Acceptance, is a five-step approach to dealing with customer objections in a constructive and empathetic way.

  • Acceptance: The first step is to accept the customer's objection without defense or confrontation, thereby acknowledging its validity.
  • Discovery: This phase involves gaining an in-depth understanding of the customer's underlying concern, by asking relevant questions.
  • Empathy: Here, the salesperson shows compassion and understanding for the customer's concerns.
  • Answer: This is the time to present solutions, convincing arguments and tangible evidence to answer the objection.
  • Acceptance: Finally, check whether the customer is satisfied and convinced by the response provided.

Before going into the details of the ADERA method, let's review the different types of objections a salesperson can face.

The different types of objections

Not all objections have the same value, some are just ways of cutting the conversation short, while others are indicative of a real customer problem.

Unsincere and unfounded objections

‍Yourprospect clearly doesn't understand the benefits your product could bring him or refuses to see them.

It is up to you to find THE PHRASE that will hit the nail on the head, for example by explaining the advantages of your product over that of your competitor.

Sincere and unfounded objections ‍

‍Inthis case, your prospect simply needs to be reassured. You have the arguments to convince him! All you have to do is put the solution you provide in front of each of his doubts.

Genuine and well-founded objections

‍There's no such thing as the perfect product for everyone in every situation (we'd be a bit bored otherwise, wouldn't we?). So it's entirely possible that your customer has a key need that you can't meet.

This is often the moment when a relationship of trust is established. (I recommend this book on the subject *)Start with no,* Jim Camp )

The five steps of the ADERA method

Well, now that we have reviewed the different types of objections, we can move on to the ADERA method!

Acceptance

The worst mistake you can make is to try to destroy your prospect's objections one by one. Accept objections!

Let him express himself freely, and actively LISTEN to understand what kind of objection he's making.

Your aim is not to immediately contest the objection, but to create a climate of trust and understanding.

In supermarkets, the objection will generally come from a store manager, department manager or buyer.

For example, the objection may be about the shelf space required for a new product. Here, acceptance means understanding and validating this concern. You might say, "I understand that shelf space is limited and valuable. It's a legitimate concern."

Another example might be when a department manager expresses doubts about your brand's ability to supply sufficient quantities for their store. In this case, react by accepting his doubts: "I understand your concerns about our production capacity. Can you tell me what volume you expect from us?".

La Découverte

Ask questions, try to find out more than your prospect is telling you at first glance, to pinpoint any sticking points.

For example, you could follow up with questions such as:

  • "Can you tell me more about your space constraints?"
  • "Which products currently in this category are performing the worst?"

This can reveal opportunities, such as substituting a less efficient product with your own.

Let's take our previous examples:

  1. The area manager has run out of shelf space to add a new product. You discover that he has doubts about introducing products from outside his assortment, because the last ones didn't work. You can then delve deeper into his product selection criteria and fears: "I see, so you want a guarantee that the product will work. What were your criteria for selecting the latest innovations?"
  2. The area manager is afraid you won't deliver on time. You discover that the area manager has had stock problems with previous suppliers. You can then dig deeper to find out more about his fear: "I see, you need a reliable delivery guarantee. What has been your experience with your previous suppliers in this regard?"

CRM data can provide valuable information for discovery, identifying common customer concerns.

Empathy

Put yourself in your prospect's shoes and show him by rephrasing his question in his own words.

You've understood the problem and are ready to answer it: "If I understand you correctly".

This will enable you to realign yourself with your prospect/customer and ensure that you propose a suitable response. You may have missed something in your discovery phase.

Let's go back to our examples:

  1. The area manager has run out of shelf space to add a new product. You discover that the last inno introductions didn't work. You can show him that you understand his situation by putting yourself in his shoes: "If I were in your shoes, I too would have reservations about introducing new products with no guarantee of performance. It must be a constant challenge to maintain a balance between innovation and limited space."
  2. The area manager is afraid of not being delivered. Recognize the importance of reliable delivery to store inventory management. "As I understand it, reliable delivery is crucial to keeping your stock at optimum levels. We take this issue very seriously."

The Answer

Now that your discovery phase is over, it's time to respond to your prospect's objections!

If you have doubts, it's up to you to provide concrete evidence to dispel them. For example, figures, customer testimonials who had the same fears, and who are now satisfied. To do this, use your CRM tool, which brings together your internal data (datasharing from other stores, evolution of orders for the product, sell-in of the product in other chains, etc.) and panel data to prove market trends for your product, sector or brand.

CRM data can provide valuable information for Response, providing arguments based on data and market research.

Let's go back to our examples:

  1. To secure shelf space, highlight your product or category figures. Prove that your product works in other similar stores (same stratum or brand). Also stress the importance of location, try to negotiate a particular facing height...
  2. The area manager is afraid of not being delivered. Highlight your history of on-time deliveries and the steps you've taken to guarantee reliability.

If these are real sticking points that your products can't address, don't give up just yet! Does one negative point wipe out all the benefits you bring? Of course not. It's up to you to recontextualize, to recall all the value your offer/product brings.

Acceptance

Yes, yes, a second acceptance phase, but this will be your customer's, not yours. Depending on the objection, check that you've cleared up his doubts clearly.


‍"Have I allayed your fears on this point?"

"Given all the benefits I can bring you, do you agree to accept the point that was previously blocking you?"

To conclude with our examples,

  1. Check that the floor manager is convinced by your figures and the sales strength of your product;
  2. Check that the floor manager is now reassured about your ability to meet his delivery needs.

Now you have all the tools you need to respond to your prospects' objections. Now it's up to you!

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